Radio talk leads to TV suspension


ESPN has pulled Tony Kornheiser off of “Pardon the Interruption” for two weeks. The suspension came because of remarks that Kornheiser made about another ESPN host on his local radio show in Washington, DC.

Kornheiser’s radio show airs on WTEM-AM, which is an ESPN Radio affiliate, but owned by Red Zebra Broadcasting. On Friday’s (2/19) show he had this to say about the fashion choice of an ESPN “SportsCenter” host:

“Hannah Storm [is] in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She’s got on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt … way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now…She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body … I know she’s very good, and I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won’t … but Hannah Storm … come on now! Stop! What are you doing? … She’s what I would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at this point.”

For those who’ve forgotten their high school reading assignments, that was a reference to J. D. Salinger’s coming of age novel “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Kornheiser was soon called on the carpet by ESPN management and told he was suspended from “Pardon the Interruption” for two weeks. His radio show, however, continues unabated. Kornheiser said he has personally apologized to Storm.

“Tony Kornheiser’s comments about Hannah Storm were entirely inappropriate. Hurtful and personal comments such as these are not acceptable and have significant consequences. Tony has been suspended from PTI for two weeks. Hannah is a respected colleague who has been an integral part of the success of our morning SportsCenter,” said a statement from John Skipper, ESPN Executive Vice President, Content.

RBR-TVBR observation: ESPN management is really on pins and needles these days regarding anything that smacks of sexism. The cable network recently fired baseball analyst Steve Phillips, a former New York Mets player, for having an affair with a production assistant, Brooke Hundley, who was also fired.

ESPN football reporter Erin Andrews was the target of a stalker last year, who managed to film her nude through hotel door peepholes. Early speculation that a colleague might be to blame proved unfounded, as insurance executive Michael Barrett pleaded guilty to following Andrews to sports events around the country and requesting hotel rooms adjacent to hers.